NEW DELHI: Elections to the four parliamentary constituencies in Himachal Pradesh will take place on May 19. There as a many as 7,723 polling stations in Himachal Pradesh this time. However, the higher reaches of Himachal will be a test of physical fitness and stamina for poll staff who will have to lug EVMs, VVPAT machines and other voting paraphernalia to several stations that are accessible only on foot.
TOUGHEST POLLING STATIONS
Shakti & Maror , Kullu: Part of the Great Himalayan National Park, EC teams will have to walk 20km, through dense forest along Satluj river. The park is home to Himalayan black bear and Asiatic brown bear, musk deer & the Himalayan Tahr. Not to mention leopards in the forest zone & snow leopards above the tree line.
Bara Bhangal, Kangra: Village in Kangra is a 74km trek from the last village connected by road. By road, it takes poll parties three to four days to reach, so teams are flown in by choppers. If the polling team is unable to fly due to bad weather, they will travel by road from Baijnath in Kangra to Nayagram in Chamba and then do the last 22km on foot.
Kurched, Lahaul-Spiti: It is located between Udaipur and Tindi. Polling teams have to trek uphill for more than two hours to reach the station.
Chask-Bhatori, Chamba: Located at a height of 11,709 feet. Polling parties have to travel 15km from Sach pass. It is a steep climb from the main road Hikkim in Lahaul-Spiti district, at 14,567ft above sea level, is the highest polling booth in the state. It’s a 20km trek for 86 voters.
Kasha, Shimla: Village in Rampur tehsil is on the border of Shimla and Kullu. It involves a trek of 15km from the nearest road.
Pandar, Dodra-Kawar: A 14km trek, which is a steep climb, on the best of days, the polling station is now completely cut off due to snow blocking the motorable road passing through Chanshal pass. Once snow is cleared, polling team from Rohru will travel in a vehicle to Kyar and after a night halt, undertake the arduous journey to Pandar. Jakha & Jiskun stations in Dodra-Kawar are about a 7.8km trek on foot.